Posts Tagged ‘bergenia Eden’s dark margin’


After a long, cold, snowy, long, so long, winter, spring is finally, blessedly here. What a boon, to wake every morning to a newly greened world! What could be more soothing to the winter-weary soul than a walk in the spring garden?

Our weather has been variable. We had a ridiculously hot week recently, with temperatures exceeding 30C (86F), only to be followed this week by much cooler temperatures, dipping to near zero at night, with a frost warning in the forecast for tomorrow night. The 24th of May is generally regarded as the frost-safe date here.

Nevertheless, the spring garden is well underway. Of course, the spring bulbs are always welcome. My favorites are tulips. This year, I have enjoyed a new planting of peony-like blooms in brilliant colours.


Speaking of peonies, all of the dozen new peonies I planted last year are doing well and starting to bud. The first to flower, well in advance of the other peony varieties is the fern-leaf peony (Paeonia tenuifolia). It can be appreciated for both its fine foliage and brilliant red flowers.


Ornamental rhubarb (Rheum palmatum ‘Atrosanguineum’) is one of the first plants to push up shoots as soon as the snow melts back. The young leaves are a glorious red. By now they have settled into a more staid green, but are impressive in size, some nearly two feet across.


The stalks that will soon boost feathery plumes of creamy flowers are nearly six feet tall. The flowers are tenderly embraced in a red wrap that gently unfolds to release the plumes.


Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spp.) is a stalwart of the spring garden, an old-fashioned favorite that always pleases.


Here is my favorite tiarella, ‘Sugar and Spice’, putting on a terrific show. The common name for tiarella is foamflower, for the appearance of the light, foamy mass of flowers.


I’ve never had much success with the most commonly available primrose species, polyanthus (Primula x polyantha). They do okay for a year or two before fading away and disappearing. Last year I planted a different species, Primula sieboldii ‘Cover Girl’. I have been very pleased this spring as the two plants I acquired last year have reappeared as sturdy clumps. The dainty flowers have silvery white faces, but the reverse side of the petals is violet pink.


These Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) were new last year and are adding a pop of blue this spring. The long stems add movement to the flower bed as the stalks sway in any breeze.


Epimediums, with many different cultivars available, attract collectors. I just have three varieties. This is Epimedium versicolor ‘Sulphureum’, which features sprays of tiny, bright yellow flowers that look like miniature daffodils.


Here’s the brilliant flower head of Bergenia ‘Eden’s Dark Margin’ blooming against a background of the umbrella-like leaves of our native mayflower (Podophyllum peltatum).


So that’s a little taste of the May garden. I’ll close with this view of St. Francis marking the entrance to the woodland garden path, surrounded by still-emerging hostas and impatiens.


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At last the snow has all been washed away and the grass pathways of my garden walk are greening up nicely. The April showers have carried over into May, but when the sun came out in the afternoon, I took a walk around the yard to check out the action. It doesn’t look like a lot is happening, but on closer examination, there is plenty to see.


The spring bulbs are well underway. My favorites are the little scilla, such a gorgeous shade of blue.



The crocuses have nearly finished blooming, while the daffodils are just starting.


The Pasque flowers didn’t quite make it for Easter, but are blooming now. That’s Pulsatilla vulgaris, above, and the hybrid Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Pearl Bells’ below.


Last summer, I added half a dozen new peonies to the garden, so have been watching anxiously for their shoots. They’re all present and accounted for now, but most just have little red tips poking through the soil. A couple are way ahead of the other peonies. This is Paeonia lactiflora ‘Starlight’ (A.P. Saunders 1949, Herbaceous Hybrid, Single, Cream, 26″ Early). You can see the flower buds forming.


Another early peony is the Fernleaf Peony (Paeonia tenuifolia), which features a display of charming mopheads.


The hellebores are all blooming. This is Helleborus niger. Many hellebore flowers face downward, and you have to lift the blooms to see their pretty faces. Some of the newer hybrids have upward-facing flowers.


And here is Helleborus ‘Peppermint Ruffles’. At least, that’s according to its tag, but the flowers don’t have as much burgundy as I was expecting, thus casting doubt on this attribution. Still pretty, though.


The shoots of spring-blooming Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) are well started.


Here’s Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense). It always amazes me that seemingly-fragile leaves can push through a thick layer of leaves and mulch.


This Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven) is so attractive, it doesn’t need flowers to show off. It’s a selection of Bill Cullina of The New England Wild Flower Society.


All of the geraniums are looking lush, though they won’t flower for a while yet. This one is Geranium macrorhizum ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’.


The bergenias are also early starters. This one is Bergenia ‘Eden’s Dark Margin’. You can see the cluster of purple-pink flowers forming at the heart of the leaves.


And finally, here are some daylily (Hemerocallis) clumps. Although they won’t bloom until July, dayliles get off to a gratifyingly early start, in contrast to hostas, which make you wait for their first shoots. We had a pleasant, sunny day earlier in the week and I spent quite a bit of it resettling these daylilies. Over the years, their roots had been invaded by grass, and lupins and even a few hollyhocks had self-seeded themselves in the middle of clumps. The only way to effectively remove the invaders is to lift the whole clump and dig them out. Fortunately, dayliles are hardy plants,and not offended by this rough handling.


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